Copyright law protects illustrators and other visual artists by restricting the ability of others to reproduce the artist’s works. There are certain exceptions, such as fair use.

Illustrators generally can license certain of the copyrights in their works for specific purposes or for limited times. Illustrators who are employees should be aware that ownership of copyrights in certain works (such as those made in the course of their employment) might belong to their employer. Illustrators should consider utilizing language sufficient to put others on notice of copyright in their work wherever and whenever it is displayed.

There are certain benefits to registering a copyrighted work with the U.S. Copyright Office, such as a presumption of ownership and the potential for larger damages awards in the case of infringement.